I introduce to you Joel Havea. I first discovered Joel on Balcony TV (which is a great channel / site, you should check it out), and while his only album release to date came out last about this time last year, there have been some rumblings about some new recordings surfacing soon, and his music is perfectly suited to the weather we appear to be experiencing at the moment so, I thought I’d see if I could ask him a few questions and help spread the word. As expected, he’s a lovely guy with some interesting thoughts about the craft. Ladies and Gentlemen, for your consideration, Joel Havea.
GiantMan: What made you start writing music?
Joel Havea: For me, like a lot of writers out there, song writing started as a form of emotional release. Especially when I was younger, I found it was the best way to express my feelings and share my experiences. It’s also something that I get a huge amount of enjoyment from; it’s kinda like putting together a challenging puzzle with your ears.
GM: Are you a half-full or half-empty kind of guy?
Joel: Half-full, depending on the beverage 🙂
GM: You hail from Australia, but you’re now based in Hamburg – how did that happen?
Joel: I was backpacking around Asia and Europe without a long-term plan, I went to Berlin and fell in love with the place and just like that 1 week became 5 months. I wanted to stay in Germany a little bit longer and then moved to Hamburg. Things started happening for me here with my music and I’ve been here ever since… That was 4 years ago – time flies.
GM: What’s the music scene like there? Do you find other like-minded artists?
Joel: There is a very cool scene here in Hamburg. Although it’s a medium sized city, its quite centralised, or at least the live music locations are all relatively close to each other. It means that the scene is quite small and everyone knows each other, which is nice. There are lots of cool jam sessions here and a nice mix of locals and internationals across a wide range of music, which keeps things interesting.
GM: So your debut album, ‘You Make Me Believe’ came out about this time last year. Tell us a bit about it.
Joel: I recorded the album over a few months in 2011 in a studio in Hamburg, which was a great experience. I have been playing live for years but it was my first time spending so long in a recording studio and I definitely learned lots of things over the whole process. The album was finally released on March 30th in 2012, which was very exciting!
GM: You produced the album entirely independently. Why?
Joel: As I mentioned, I have been a live musician for over 10 years and have been writing songs for just as long. I knew exactly which songs I wanted to record, and the sound I wanted to have. For that reason I decided to fund everything myself just to make sure it was done right.
GM: How would you describe your sound?
Joel: Sunny and soulful with a solid groove.
GM: If you were introducing your music to someone, which song would you pick?
Joel: Find your way. It’s a cool catchy sing-a-long riff and the lyrics perfectly sum up my personal philosophy.
GM: What’s the last band you listened to?
Joel: Foo fighters. I watched their documentary “back & forth” recently and since then I have been listening to them non stop.
GM: On your site it says that you’re “bringing back an old-school approach to song-writing.” What does that mean exactly?
Joel: Most of my influences are old school singer songwriters from the 60’s and 70’s, back in the days when the only thing mattered was having a solid melody and meaningful lyrics. When I am writing, I try to focus just on that, because for me the most important thing has been, and always will be, the songs. These days it is so easy to get distracted by all the peripheral stuff, e.g. music videos, TV appearances, interviews, press photos, etc, all things that, in essence, have nothing to do with the actual music.
GM: What have you been up to since the release? Touring? More recording?
Joel: I have been playing lots of shows around Germany, particularly in Hamburg and Berlin. I also played in Austria last year a few times and did tours around New Zealand in August and Australia in December last year.
In terms of recording, I am currently in the studio and planning to release an acoustic EP just after summer. Stay tuned!
GM: It seems you love to travel – what’s your favourite city?
Joel: It’s a tough question; there are so many great places – I really love Europe, some of my favourite cities would be:
Berlin – for the energy and atmosphere, there’s no city quite like it
Hamburg – for partying, there really is no place like the Reeperbahn
Barcelona – for the good life, magical mix of beautiful beaches and sexy senoritas
Paris, which is similar to Berlin in a way, with amazing architecture, fantastic food, a great arts scene and a certain magic in the air.
I can’t forget Melbourne of course – there’s no place like home 🙂
GM: What else do you want to tick off your bucket list?
Joel: Travel around North and South America. I also want to learn Spanish but need to perfect my German first.
GM: So where can people hear you play?
Joel: Playing lots around Germany in the summer, just check my website for all upcoming shows.
GM: Let’s wrap it up with the important stuff. Brownies, cookies or cake?
Joel: I’ll take them all with a half-full glass of milk!